Unlike her peers, Zuraidah left school at 13 to support her family by working in a confectionery. As a teen, she had to grow up fast and learn to survive the working life alone. Albeit tough, she persevered through the different jobs in the years that follow in order to make ends meet. During her second marriage, she battled depression following the loss of her job and struggled to fulfil the responsibility of feeding her four children. However, little by little, with the support of the community, Zuraidah regained the confidence to apply for a job in the eldercare sector, where she was subsequently employed by Lions Befrienders.

As a pioneer of the Home Personal Care programme, Zuraidah was LB’s first Healthcare Assistant. Having played an essential role in the groundwork, she assisted to build HPC since its launch in 2017. She suggested using mobile phones as an instrument for the mind stimulation activities as it was more cost-effective. She also helped translate for the Malay speaking seniors during outreach activities. “What motivates me in HPC is the value I receive working here,” said Zuraidah. Beyond her regular duties, she found joy in the quality time spent interacting with her seniors. Most of her seniors regarded her as a good listener and readily shared their lives with her. The conversations exchanged and wisdom of these seniors imparted her many life values. She recounted the story shared by one of her seniors who despite having children, was rarely visited and not given financial support. This senior encouraged Zuraidah to consistently set-aside savings for a rainy day and be self-sufficient. As a mother herself, the words resonated with her and she was grateful to gain a whole new perspective.

Working on the frontline as a healthcare staff, Zuraidah has encountered some difficult cases which can truly test her compassion and patience. Making trips to these homes could get dreadful, but rather than brooding over it, Zuraidah empathised with the seniors, and considered things from their perspectives while completing her duties. While the eventual passing of her seniors was the toughest part of her job, the years of working in this line taught her to better manage her emotions. Every adversity has motivated her to serve them to the best of her abilities, leaving her with no regrets. Despite rough beginnings, Zuraidah’s experiences in her younger days have strengthened her mentally and emotionally, enabling her to rise above the challenges in her work today.

Often praised for being warm, approachable and passionate when it comes to serving the seniors, Zuraidah received many compliments as a good worker, and just as a good colleague. “Whenever I feel down or perhaps a little burnt out, her infectious zeal and zest never fail to perk me up, including everyone around her,” said Angeline, Zuraidah’s supervisor. Speaking about the team of nurses and staff that she has the privilege to work alongside with brought a smile on Zuraidah’s face. The challenges of the job only brought the team closer together, as they grew to support each other continuously. Zuraidah is grateful to be given this platform to openly express her feelings and give suggestions. “It’s not about the money you earn but the people you meet. How we can work as a team, and what I value and prioritise. I am just glad to be a part of LB,” said Zuraidah.

We hope that these stories would inspire you to reach out and touch the lives of others.

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